The NSW Department of Police and Emergency Services will be split in two in a move that represents the first major modification to the super department structure.
In June 2009, former Premier Nathan Rees announced that all existing departments within the NSW Government would be consolidated into 13 ‘super departments’ in a move to minimise bureaucratic waste and duplication.
Under the reform, formerly separate Departments of Police and Emergency Services were fused into one, despite each belonging to separate ministerial portfolios.
NSW Police, NSW Fire Brigades, the Rural Fire Service, the State Emergency Service and the NSW Crime Commission were brought together in the new department.
The decision to dissolve the super department recognises that the agencies and their service delivery requirements are too different to be subject to blanket reforms, and responds to pressure from the Rural Fire Service to restore their independence.
Minster for Emergency Services, Steve Whan, said “The Government has listened to the community and in particular our hard working emergency services frontline volunteers and staff”.
The NSW Government appears to have experienced mixed success in the transition of agencies into the super department structure with significant signs of integration progress occurring in some agencies, such as Human Service and very few signs of integration occurring at others, such as the Department of Justice and Attorney General, which consists of the Attorney General’s Department and Corrective Services NSW.
At present there are no indications that any further super departments will experience further Machinery of Government changes.